The world is changing. And so is the way we work.
Remote work has become an increasingly popular option for companies and employees. It's not just because of the flexibility — though that part doesn't hurt — it's also because of the benefits that come with it: reduced overhead costs, better employee morale, and an increase in productivity. In fact, 79% of remote workers stated that working remotely allows them to be more productive and improves focus.
But with all the advantages come some added challenges. For example, how do you keep track of your remote workers' performance? How do you know if they're checking off everything they are responsible for? And how do you ensure that everyone is productive while working independently on their own projects?
In this post, we'll explore seven metrics that can help you measure your remote workers' performance and effectiveness.
Let's dive in.
1. Total hours worked
One of the most critical metrics for remote work is the total hours worked per week. This metric is a good indicator of whether you're paying your employees correctly and how efficient your employees are with their time.
For instance, if you have an employee who clocks 10 hours per week, but you are paying them for 20 hours per week, that could indicate some sort of discrepancy in their payment and performance. But, on the other hand, it could indicate that they are efficient in what they do and have the bandwidth to take on more work. But that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Of course, the opposite could hold true with lower weekly hours indicating that your employees are struggling, slacking off at work, or falling behind with their daily tasks. The best approach for a resolution is to schedule a meeting to understand the root cause of the issue. For example, if your employees feel overwhelmed, they might miss out on important tasks or projects. In that case, it might be a good idea to schedule some time for everyone to catch up.
You can also use this metric to determine if your team is getting more done during the week. But, again, don't focus too much on the 30 hours vs. 40 hours logged weekly. Ideally, you want your employees to finish their work in less time.
Recent research shows that remote workers are 20% more likely to finish their daily tasks than those working in an office. They're also less likely to work a full 8 hours per day. You shouldn't have anything to worry about if your employees are getting their work done promptly. The average employee productivity rating is based on several factors, including how much time they spend on each task, how well they prioritize their tasks, and their ability to get things done on time.
However, if you find that your team members are working more than they did before, it might be time to consider setting boundaries for when everyone should be logging off for the day. The last thing you want is your employees to burn out and lose interest in their job altogether.
Working from home can be great, but it's easy to fall victim to the hustle of working from home with everything available at your fingertips and forget that you have a life outside of work. Therefore, it's essential to set boundaries around how long your team works each day so they can still enjoy their personal lives outside of work.
One of the advantages of remote work is that employees can usually decide when they want to work. For example, some people prefer to work in the evening while others prefer regular office hours. Therefore, it’s important to ask employees to set their hours and stick to them so that other colleagues know when they can be reached.
2. Time spent on each task
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Time spent on each task is a good measure of productivity and helps you identify where your employees need help. Unfortunately, we typically spend the most time on tedious tasks that are not yet automated or the tasks in which we lack confidence or skill.
By tracking how long employees take to complete specific tasks, you can help them focus on the most important tasks and also teach them new skills. That can be helpful for various reasons, including improving employee morale and efficiency.
Finally, the time spent on each task is a simple and easy-to-track metric that helps identify where there are problems in your workflow. For example, suppose you have a remote worker whose time is consistently longer than average. In that case, you might look at whether your processes are inefficient or if something about that employee's role makes it more challenging to manage.
3. Time to first reply
If you and your co-workers aren't responding quickly enough, it's a sign that something isn't right. Quick responses are essential when responding to managers, clients, colleagues, and other remote workers alike.
Research shows that 69% of employees expect their co-workers to respond to their emails in 4 hours or less. Employees' fast responses indicate they are at their computers and actively participating in work activities. By checking how often they respond to emails, Slack messages, or other communications from other employees, you'll be able to see if they're reliable employees. If they're not responding enough or not responding, this could be a sign that they're unreliable or not a good fit for the position.
You can also measure how many emails they send each day or week — if someone sends more than ten emails per day and doesn't get back to anyone for days on end, then there might be a problem with their workflow or communication skills that needs addressing.
4. Employee retention rate
Employee retention is a measure of employee engagement. It's the number of employees who remain at your company over time and indicates how well your organization is doing.
A high retention rate indicates that you're satisfying employees, engaging them in their work, and helping them feel like they belong to your organization and in their position. These things often come together: when people are happy with what they do, they tend to stay put. On the other hand, if you have low levels of employee satisfaction or engagement — or both — you'll likely see lower retention rates.
5. Employee satisfaction
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You can use employee satisfaction to gauge how happy your employees are in their roles and identify areas of improvement that need attention.
You can measure employee satisfaction through employee engagement surveys, which ask about factors like job satisfaction and career development potential. If you don't already have an existing survey that measures these things, there are plenty of free or low-cost online platforms where you can create them yourself — or pay someone else for the service if you don't feel comfortable doing so yourself.
There are many ways that an employer can boost workplace morale among their remote workers — for example:
- Offering flexible working hours or annual days off
- Encouraging social activities among teams
- Arranging for regular team meetups
- Offering training opportunities
- Providing time off for volunteering programs (among others)
6. Average response time to clients
In today's world, the ability to respond quickly is important for any business. In fact, it's essential.
Average response time to clients is a metric that can tell you if your remote workers are setting the bar high enough. Clients need to feel like they can reach out at any point with questions or concerns, and if this metric doesn't meet your expectations, it may be a sign of something needing adjustment.
The average response time should be less than 24 hours — more than that, and clients may think that they're not important enough to get immediate responses. Upset clients don’t bode well for long-term business success.
7. Customer satisfaction
As the saying goes, the customer is always right.
Customer satisfaction is important for any business, but it's especially critical for remote workers. It's easy for employees to get lost in their work and forget that they're not just a cog in the wheel — they're building something that people or other businesses will consume.
Customer satisfaction is more than just meeting expectations — it's about exceeding them. If people are happy with your product or service, they'll come back and buy from you again (and tell their friends and family). That means the return on investment is higher when you have a satisfied customer base, so measuring customer satisfaction should be one of your top priorities as a remote business owner.
Customer satisfaction isn't just about making customers feel valued — it also involves making sure they feel heard as individuals. It's more important that, for example, if you have an office with virtual receptionists, the quality of care is outstanding and your patients feel understood. If someone gives feedback on something that bothers them or had a bad experience, take time to listen before deciding on an actionable response.
It's no secret: one of the biggest perks of working with a remote team is the increase in productivity and better work-life balance. When you're not wasting hours every day on a monotonous commute, stuck in a cubicle with people who are constantly popping in and out, or just generally distracting you from getting your work done, it's easier to stay focused on what matters — and get more done.
But it's still important to keep an eye on your remote workers to ensure that things are running smoothly and that there are no bottlenecks in your workflow. Of course, since you are managing from afar, it comes with a few added challenges. However, with the help of these seven metrics, you are on your way to finding out if your remote team is truly working at the highest capacity without sacrificing employee or customer satisfaction.
Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She's also an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.